When the beat drops, ravers honk their car horns and flash their lights.

By Cailey Rizzo
June 02, 2020
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Just because the clubs are closed doesn’t mean that Germany is stopping the disco.

Last month, the world’s first drive-in disco opened outside a club in Schuttorf, Germany where nightlife lovers drive into the parking lot outside Index, one of the country’s largest nightclubs, and watch DJs take the stage.

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Because it is unlikely that clubs in Germany will reopen until 2021, the weekly event aptly named "Autodisco," is the closest experience for the time being. But there are quite a few key differences between the drive-in club experience and the real thing. Everybody stays inside their cars, no alcohol is sold, and instead of cheering when the beat drops, ravers honk their car horns and flash their lights.

And just because there’s social distancing doesn’t mean that people connecting during their night out. Club-goers at Autodisco have found unique ways of meeting other people, including writing their phone numbers on balloons and holding them up for someone that's caught their eye.

People can only enter the club building itself to go to the bathroom, and only two people are allowed at a time — and even then, they must wear masks to comply with health codes. Club staff patrol the parking lot to make sure everyone is following the rules.

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Some cars ride up, equipped with rave gear like lights. Anna Kollak, a driving instructor, had tricked out her teaching car with confetti, glow sticks and Christmas lights. “It is a bit crazy,” Kollak told the New York Times. “Tomorrow, I will have another lesson and there will be confetti everywhere.”

Just like a regular club, Autodisco has themed nights: 90s, urban and even a family-friendly event are slotted for programming.

The parking lot club has space for 250 cars. The nights cost about $35 per car for one passenger and one driver (each additional passenger pays about $15).

The nights start at about 9 p.m. while the sky is still light and are over by midnight, to not annoy the neighbors.

Germany has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the world at 183,800 confirmed cases but a significantly low death rate at 8,563, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

Germany went into lockdown on March 22 but each of its 16 states has enacted its own reopening rules over the past few weeks, Business Insider reported. Restaurants have found clever workarounds to enact social distancing, including building “quarantine greenhouses” around tables.

During the time of coronavirus social distancing, many attractions around the world are adapting for drive-in entertainment. New York’s Yankee Stadium will become a drive-in concert venue this summer and Vilnius International Airport in Lithuania transformed a tarmac into a drive-in movie theatre.